Cheers had the two elements that every successful sitcom needs, an excellent ensemble cast and great writing. Together, they created a place we knew we’d enjoy hanging out — where everybody knows your name.
The show ran for eleven seasons on NBC, usually during the hugely popular Thursday night lineup. Although its premiere episode finished last in the ratings, it quickly caught on and became a perennial top 10 show, even finishing the 1990-91 season at number one.
Most of the characters remained on the show throughout its run. These include bar owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson), bar regulars Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger), waitress Carla (Rhea Perlman), bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), and psychiatrist/customer Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth). Initially, Shelley Long played Sam’s love interest Diane Chambers; then the storyline brought in Kirstie Alley as bar manager Rebecca Howe. Not only did Long commit career suicide by leaving the series, Alley as her replacement was never truly believable in her role. One of the show’s few shortcomings.
Cheers received the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series four times. Many of the actors were also honored for their acting skills: Alley and Long each won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, Danson won two Emmys and Golden Globes, while Harrelson won one Emmy, Neuwirth won two, and Perlman took home four.
And the show’s theme song is one of the most memorable in television history…